Tayside councillors have been labelled “hypocrites”for championing tough action on climate change while racking up thousands of pounds in car mileage expenses.
Angus Council economic spokesman Braden Davy, Conservative, has highlighted almost £6,000 in claims from three SNP councillors who last week proposed tough local action on climate change.
He highlighted car mileage expenses claims from Arbroath councillor Alex King, Monifieth councillor Beth Whiteside and Kirriemuir councillor Julie Bell, all SNP.
Mr King claimed £2,194 in mileage, councillor Bell claimed £1,974 and councillor Whiteside claimed £1,803.
Forfar councillor Mr Davy’s own claim for car mileage was £81.
Angus Council was criticised last week when it passed an amended motion that environmental campaigners said declared a “climate non-emergency”.
Mr Davy added to the controversy when he argued Angus’ rural economy made cutting carbon more difficult than in more urban areas.
He said: “SNP councillors attacked me for saying decarbonising everything now was unrealistic in a rural economy like Angus.
“It would not be possible for our transport, agricultural and manufacturing sector without risking jobs. Particularly our North Sea oil and gas subsidiaries.
“What people will find even more galling, is the hypocrisy over their approach.”
“These councillors drive to Forfar for every meeting. We are a paperless and online council, there is no requirement for this every day. If we are in a climate emergency, why do they choose to emit so much carbon when online video calls are available?
“Alternatively, councillors could simply take a bus.”
Beth Whiteside SNP councillor for Monifieth and Sidlaw, said Mr Davy lived within walking distance of most council meetings and briefings.
She said: “If he believes mileage claims for rural councillors can be compared on a like-for-like basis to his own, he has a very poor understanding of the areas we work in.”
She has a 40 mile round trip to attend council and regularly attended six community council meetings up to 14 miles from her home.
“I make every effort to attend as many meetings, briefings and community events as I can, which is more than can be said for councillor Davy,” she added.
Kirriemuir councillor Julie Bell said: “I represent a huge rural ward and minimise travel at all costs, planning journeys and meeting to avoid wasteful fuel use.
“Whilst I do not feel the need to justify anything to councillor Davy, I am happy to let my constituents know that I have personally halved my vehicle and domestic fuel consumption, by vehicle choice and investing in home improvements that reduce energy consumption.”
Arbroath councillor Mr King was not available for comment.